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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Blog Tour : Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz by Belinda Acosta




Description from Hatchette :
All Ana Ruiz wanted was to have a traditional quinceañera for her daughter, Carmen. She wanted a nice way to mark this milestone year in her daughter's life. But Carmen was not interested in celebrating. Hurt and bitter over her father Esteban's departure, she blamed Ana for destroying their happy family, as did everyone else. A good man is hard to find, especially at your age Ana was told. Why not forgive his one indiscretion? Despite everything, Ana didn't want to tarnish Carmen's childlike devotion to her beloved father. But Ana knows that growing up sometimes means facing hard truths. In the end, Ana discovers that if she's going to teach Carmen anything about what it means to be a woman, it will take more than simply a fancy party to do it...
(this photo was lifted from Austin Chronicles website)


Guest Post from Belinda Acosta :
Why don't you start by telling us a little about yourself and how you started writing?

I was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska. I get my Tejana creds from my mother, who was raised in deep South Texas. My father is Mexicano (San Luis Potosi-ajua! That's Mexican for "Woo-Hoo!"). I've been living in Austin, Texas, since 1985 or so. I began writing like most writers, I suppose-because I loved to read. Also, I'm not good at anything else, except for acting, which I made a living from for about ten years before I returned to get my BA and subsequent MFA in writing from the Michener Center at the University of Texas at Austin.What led you to create these particular characters and plot?When I was contacted about writing a series on quinceañeras I had just reviewed Julia Alvarez's nonfiction book, Once Upon a Quinceañera for The Austin Chronicle. So, the subject was in high on my radar. What intrigued me about the subject was similar to what intrigued Alvarez, I think: What does it mean to be a woman today? Is there something about the Latina experience that is unique? Why have a ritual to mark this "passage"? Where did the tradition stem from? And on and on and on. I find it amusing that I did not have a quinceañera, I had never been to one prior to writing this book, and I don't have any children. I do know, from first hand experience, how complicated the relationship between mothers and daughters can be. Part of what makes Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz stand out is that it focuses on that relationship-the good and the bad, hopefully, with heart and candor.

Did you have to do research for your book?

Do you think quinceañerasis a celebration soon to be extinct?

I did some online research and read a couple of earlier books on the subject. One was Julia Alvarez's marvelous nonfiction book, Once Upon a Quinceañera. The other was a collection of short stories, Fifteen Candles, edited by Adriana Lopez. I went to my first quinceañera mass early in the writing process, in addition to attending a quinceañera fair in San Antonio, and another one recently here in Austin. Plus, it's amazing what you can learn by striking up a conversation with women at the nail salon. I remember sitting there, waiting for my nails to dry, when another woman joined me. For some reason, I thought she would have something to say (maybe because I've worked as a journalist for 12 years and I'm used to asking strangers all about their business). So, I followed my hunch and asked her straight up if she'd had a quinceañera. She didn't but she launched into this tale about her niece's ceremony, how her daughter was recently a dama, and the plans for her own daughter's quinceañera. It was great! The ritual has some common themes, but people always-always-make them their own. I think that's the part I'm waiting for-to hear what made it unique to their family.Quinceañeras have been celebrated here and throughout Latin America for ages. I think what may wane are the more spectacular expressions of the ceremony in urban settings. The quinceañera, and especially the quinceañera mass, is still very important to some Latino Catholics. So, I don't see the fundamental ritual dying anytime soon.

I understand you are a columnist for the Austin Chronicle. What is your column about?

I write weekly about TV and media in a column called TV Eye (www.austinchronicle.com). I also write features and reviews for the music, film, and books sections for the Chronicle as well as other freelance writing, when time permits. Novel writing has brought my freelance writing to a halt for the time being.

Are you working on another novel?

I turned in the second book in the Quinceañera Club Series, Sisters, Strangers, and Starting Over on Aug. 5.

Belinda Acosta works as a journalist in Austin, Texas, writing reviews and features on books, film, and the arts, in addition to a weekly column on television (TV Eye) for the Austin Chronicle. Her work has appeared in Poets & Writers, Latino USA, Latino Magazine, AlterNet and other publications. She was a Michener Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin where she received her MFA in Writing in 1997. Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz (Grand Central Publishing, August 2009) is her first novel.

About the Author :
Belinda Acosta has written and published plays, short stories, and essays. As a journalist, her work has appeared in the Austin American-Statesman, The Austin Chronicle, the San Antonio Express-News, The San Antonio Current, and AlterNet. Her short story Tortilla Dough appeared in Saguaro, a publication of the University of Arizona in 1992. In 1993, she produced, directed and performed in a multi-media dance-theater performance of La Llorona. National exposure came in 1995 when she read her personal essay Gran Baile, on Latino USA - the Radio Journal of News and Culture, carried on National Public Radio. Acosta received a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from The University of Texas in 1997. She lives in Austin, Texas and is the TV and media columnist for The Austin Chronicles.


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August 11th

1 comments:

jtcallaway said...

This one sounds good!

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